Teague v. State, 120512 INCA, 89A01-1202-CR-86

Docket Nº89A01-1202-CR-86
Opinion JudgeMATHIAS, Judge.
Party NameTRENTON TEAGUE, Appellant-Defendant. v. STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff.
AttorneyATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: MARK I. COX The Mark I. Cox Law Office, LLC Richmond, Indiana ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER Attorney General of Indiana, RYAN D. JOHANNINGSMEIER Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana.
Judge PanelVAIDIK, J., concurs. BARNES, J., concurs in result.
Case DateDecember 05, 2012
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

TRENTON TEAGUE, Appellant-Defendant.

v.

STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff.

No. 89A01-1202-CR-86

Court of Appeals of Indiana

December 5, 2012

APPEAL FROM THE WAYNE CIRCUIT COURT The Honorable David A. Kolger, Judge Cause No. 89C01-1010-FA-010

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: MARK I. COX The Mark I. Cox Law Office, LLC Richmond, Indiana

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER Attorney General of Indiana, RYAN D. JOHANNINGSMEIER Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana.

OPINION

MATHIAS, Judge.

Trenton Teague ("Teague") was convicted after a jury trial in Wayne Circuit Court of Class A felony burglary and Class C felony battery. Teague was sentenced to thirty-eight years for burglary and six years for battery with four years suspended. Teague appeals and argues that the trial court improperly admitted a 911 recording into evidence and that his executed sentence of forty years is inappropriate.

We affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

On June 20, 2010, Chelsea Saylor ("Saylor") and Teague started dating, but on September 25, 2010, their relationship ended after Saylor and Teague became embroiled in an argument in which Teague beat her, put a knife to her throat, and threatened to kill her. The incident caused Saylor a head laceration, and she visited the local hospital for treatment.

On October 4, 2010 at around 1:30 a.m., Saylor's mother, Staci Behnen ("Behnen"), fell asleep on the couch in her living room while watching television. Shortly before 3:00 a.m., Behnen woke up when a man struck her in the head with a metal bar, which appeared to Behnen to be a crowbar or tire iron. The man was wearing a dark outfit, including a black head covering, and a black bandana across his face. When Behnen pulled down the man's bandana as he continued to beat her, she recognized the man as Teague and yelled out his name. As Teague continued to beat Behnen in her face and head area with the metal bar, he ordered her to give him her purse. She attempted to block the blows with her arms until she "could not do anything." Tr. p. 327. Behnen later testified that the pain was "[t]he worst probably that I've ever endured." Id. at 332.

Saylor was upstairs sleeping when she heard Behnen's screams. As Saylor came downstairs, Teague grabbed her and asked her "what are you doing in Richmond without me[?]" Id. at 491. Saylor recognized Teague from his voice and the portion of his face that was visible. Saylor ran to Behnen who was on the couch bleeding, but Teague followed and struck Saylor with the metal bar. Teague then struck Behnen repeatedly and demanded her purse. Saylor gave Teague the purse so that he would stop beating the two women. Teague then shut Saylor in a closet and told her he was "going to get a gun." Id. at 499. Through the closet door, Saylor saw Teague run out of the back door of the house. Id. at 492.

Saylor assisted Behnen out to the porch, and then ran over to their neighbor Jan Bishop's ("Bishop") house. Saylor was "hysterical" and screamed to Bishop to call 911 and tell the police that "somebody's broke into the house and beat mom up." Id. at 412. On the 911 call, Bishop described how Saylor had run to her door, and she relayed statements Saylor made about her ex-boyfriend being the perpetrator and how her mother had been beaten.

After the police and ambulance arrived, Behnen was taken to Reid Memorial Hospital where the doctor diagnosed her with facial fractures, nasal lacrimal duct transection, scalp laceration, and poly-substance drug intoxication. Id. at 434-35. Behnen told the doctor that her daughter's ex-boyfriend had beaten her. Due to her facial fractures and concern of ocular entrapment, she was later transferred to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, the regional trauma center where patients are sent with severe injuries that cannot be treated locally. Id. at 434.

Saylor called Wilamena Mitchell ("Mitchell") around 5:00 a.m. that same morning. Mitchell was in a relationship with Teague's uncle, Jeffrey Perkins ("Perkins"). Perkins immediately tried to contact Teague, and around 6:30 a.m., Perkins spoke with Teague on the telephone. Teague asked Perkins to pick him up from the Greenwood Apartments and to take him to a bus station out of town. Perkins agreed to pick Teague up in approximately twenty minutes. Mitchell then arranged for police officers to pull Perkins and herself over after they picked up Teague. Mitchell testified that when they picked Teague up, he remarked that "[h]e needed to get out of town" and that "he was the most looked for man in Richmond at that point." Id. at 548-49. Police officers stopped the car and took Teague in for questioning.

On October 15, 2010, the State charged Teague with of Count I – Class A felony burglary; Count II – Class B felony burglary; Count III – Class A felony robbery; Count IV – Class B felony aggravated battery; Count V – Class C felony battery; and Count VI – Class C felony battery. Teague was apprehended in Florida by United States Marshalls on April 1, 2011 and extradited back to Indiana. Id. at 790.

After a four-day jury trial beginning on December 12, 2011, the jury found Teague guilty of all counts. At the sentencing hearing on February 3, 2012, the trial court merged Counts II, III, IV, and V into Count I. Teague was sentenced to thirty-eight years on Count I and to a consecutive six years with four years suspended on Count VI.

Teague now appeals.

I. Admission of 911 Call

Teague claims the trial court improperly admitted the 911 recording in which Bishop relayed Saylor's statements. A trial court's decision to admit or exclude evidence is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. Lehman v. State, 926 N.E.2d 35, 37 (Ind.Ct.App. 2010), trans. denied (citing Iqbal v. State, 805 N.E.2d 401, 406 (Ind.Ct.App. 2004)). An abuse of discretion occurs if the trial court's decision is "clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances before the court, or if the court has misinterpreted the law." Boatner v. State, 934 N.E.2d 184, 186 (Ind.Ct.App. 2010).

Hearsay is an out-of-court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted and is inadmissible unless it falls under a hearsay exception. Ind. R. Evid. 801; see also Jenkins v. State, 725 N.E.2d 66, 68 (Ind. 2000) (citing Ind. R. Evid. 802). If a statement involves hearsay within hearsay, also known as multiple hearsay or double hearsay, the statement may still be admitted if "each layer of hearsay" qualifies "under an exception to the hearsay rule[.]" Palacios v. State, 926 N.E.2d 1026, 1030 (Ind.Ct.App. 2010); see also Ind. R. Evid. 805 ("Hearsay included within hearsay is not excluded under the hearsay rule if each part of the combined statements conforms with an exception to the hearsay rule provided in these rules.").

Here, the 911 recording involves multiple hearsay because Bishop relayed statements made by Saylor. Therefore, under Rule 805, Saylor's statements to Bishop and Bishop's statements to the 911 operator must both fall within a hearsay exception to be admissible. See Palacios, 926 N.E.2d at 1030.

A. Bishop's Statements as Excited Utterance

Teague concedes that Saylor's statements to Bishop were an excited utterance. Appellant's Br. at 9. However, Teague argues that Bishop's statements to the 911 operator were not an excited utterance and hence were inadmissible hearsay. An excited utterance is "[a] statement relating to a startling event or condition made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement caused by the event or condition" and is not excluded by the hearsay rule. Ind. R. Evid. 803(2). To meet the...

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